By Camille Liptak and Dejanique Calloway, reporters
Last week, Marvel Comic Universe set a record shattering February box office debut with its first black superhero film, Black Panther.
According to CNN media, Ryan Cooglar’s hero film amassed $241.9 million in U.S. and Canada its opening 4-day weekend, with a total of $426.6 million worldwide.
Black Panther’s gross surpassed the February 2016 opening of Deadpool, and other Marvel megahits like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War and Iron Man 3.
Money aside, Black Panther has received stellar ratings from critics too.
Rotten Tomatoes rated the film 97% fresh for its content as well as its reverberating message to Hollywood.
Black Panther is fast becoming a cultural phenomenon, out-ranking other black superhero films, and sparking an impactful (and much awaited) change to the entertainment industry.
The black director and co-writer, Ryan Coogler, and a predominantly black cast, tells a different story of what it means to not only be black, but a woman in a white-dominated masculine society.
Newly appointed King of Wakanda, T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) returns to the African nation to take the throne. The reemergence of a long-time foe, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and a new adversary, Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), prompts Black Panther to engage in a dangerous and action-packed conflict that puts the future of his nation and throne at risk.
Coogler brilliantly weaves into the film African aesthetics and traditions frequently whitewashed in other African-American films.
For an audience typically bombarded by white, male superheroes, such as Captain America, Thor and Spiderman, Black Panther breaks the mold, not only showing an intelligent, black male lead, but also powerful, strong women of color.
The all-black-woman Wakandan warriors (led by the stoic and intimidating Danai Gurira) are a fierce force to be reckoned with, and have an ample part in much of the film’s action scenes. Also lighting up the screen are Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett.
In his open letter to fans, Coogler said Black Panther was his most personal film.
When people can wake up to see themselves doing amazing things and displayed as Kings and Queens, it expands their aspirations and wakes up potential. This movie has all the qualities you expect from a Marvel film: compelling characters, a rich storyline of action and humor, and an all-star cast.
Black Panther is yet another notch on Marvel’s movie belt.
Black Panther is currently showing in local theaters.